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June 6th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Muslims sue over New York police surveillance

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

(CNN) - New Jersey Muslims filed a lawsuit against the City of New York on Wednesday, accusing police of using unconstitutional tactics to spy on them in the years after September 11, casting an unwarranted shadow of suspicion on the community.

"The NYPD's program targeted innocent Americans solely based on their religious identity," said Farhana Khera, president and executive director of the legal advocacy group Muslim Advocates, which filed the suit on behalf of the eight plaintiffs.

"That's why we believe it is unlawful and needs to stop," Khera said.

Muslim Advocates says it wants an end to the department's "invasive and discriminatory" surveillance program, which it claims targeted at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools and two Muslim student associations throughout New Jersey. The group also wants all related records from the covert program expunged, according to the complaint.

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According to NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, police were in compliance with overarching counterterrorism efforts and standards.

"I refer you to the New Jersey Attorney General's report and to the fact that NYPD activities in New Jersey were lawful, appropriate, and in keeping with efforts there, in New York, and around the world to prevent terrorists from returning here to kill more New Yorkers," Browne said in e-mail.

In May, after a three-month review, New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa declared that New York police did not violate any laws when they carried out surveillance programs across state lines.

The details of the program emerged in August and included a 60-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, showing NYPD maps of Newark and photographs of Muslims' residences and mosques. There was no statement in the document regarding terrorism or criminal activity.

W. Deen Shareef of the Council of Imams in New Jersey, which is among the plaintiffs, said more people are uncomfortable with coming to the mosque to pray because they feel that they are being watched.

"People are concerned with going about their day-to-day life," Shareef said.

The owners of a Newark halal grocery store, also suing the city, say they lost a lot of regular customers since photographs of the market emerged in the report.

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"It has draped a blanket of suspicion over the Muslim-American community and over the people outside of the community that associate with its members," Shareef said.

Shareef, Khera and the other plaintiffs - including a decorated U.S. Army Reservist and a Rutgers College student - say they hope this lawsuit will help lift that blanket.

"What makes America great is that we don't treat each other differently based on on how someone looks or how someone prays," Khera said.

"The Constitution guarantees that every American can be treated equally under law, and we expect government officials to do the same."

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Muslim • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (677 Responses)
  1. WOW

    Hi Ho, Hi Ho off to see Muhammad we go!
    oooo...Hi Ho, Hi Ho install Sharia we go!

    End of story, end of gay marriage, end of all wicked things we go!

    June 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  2. Kindness

    For you.
    A thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    June 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Thor

    Considering:

    "Fight those who believe not in Allah or the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission and are subdued.
    —Quran, [Quran 9:29]"

    What? Peace?

    June 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  4. Rafael

    i agree with u Jonh

    June 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  5. Thor

    "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. "
    — translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

    June 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Thor

      Geez! Just what does this mean if it is not to kill me unless I "repent". Repent of what?

      June 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • reddragon

      As a pagan I can assure you I probably do more charity than you, I care for the earth more than you do, and unlike you I don't want to slaughter everyone who doesn't see my point of view. Awesome religion of peace.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Primewonk

      From the Christian Bible- 2 Chronicles 15:13 – All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.

      And you have the balls to condemn the Muslims? How is your version of the very same god any better? You all are insane nutters.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Thor

      Primewonk! My point exactly.... Both of these story books say basically the same.... and since my mother is a direct descendant of Eleazar.....I kinda have been brainwashed to believe that if I believe this stuff.... I would do that harm. But.... that would portend that I am not a Pagan, or Heathen, or Assgardian.... or.... nuttin' !

      June 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Thor

      ...by the way... to a Muslim... I am a Pagan.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  6. Jim

    Don't like it go home

    June 7, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  7. Dave Armstrong

    If targeting ALL Muslims is justified because most recent terrorist acts have been carried out by Muslims......then we should also be targeting ALL middle income white men, because they carry out the vast majority of embezzlements.

    June 7, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  8. gliese42

    Hello CNN...Are you deleting me again?

    June 7, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • gliese42

      I am an American Indian and I feel NYPD is only doing their job to keep Americans safe. The Arabs shouldn't take it seriously if they are innocent otherwise I belief they have something to hide

      June 7, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  9. John White

    Stupid towel heads, If you were not doing anything wrong, they would not be watching you. Quit your un-Americana activities and you have nothing to worry about.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  10. TGM

    It did not target "innocent Americans" at all, it targetted a group collectively predisposded to harm and hatred against their host country simply because ith rest of its people does not share their murderous and suicide bomb supporting "peace" religion.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  11. TibbyChappy

    Here are a couple of meanings of the word "terrorist " 1) a person/group who uses or advocates terrorism 2) a person who terrorizes or frightens others. Anyone can be a terrorist – look at the KKK, IRA, FALN, Black Panthers – terrorists groups. With this said, lets be clear that the terrorists that struck the US were of the Muslim faith/Mid Eastern origin and I believe the NYPD has EVERY RIGHT to have a surveillance program. If it were another group of people – not Muslims – then the NYPD would be surveying them. At the end of the day its C.Y.A. and I believe we need this program so we do not have another 9/11

    June 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  12. alex

    Who cares really

    June 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  13. oldbikerbeatch

    Muslims don't like the surveilance? WHO CARES? Look at the bombings, hijackings, so-called "honor killings," persecution of Christians, white slavery, abuse of foreign workers, female genital mutilation, abuse of women and tell me Muslims don't dominate the field as perpetrators and willing actors. Anyone who believes Islam is a peaceful religion is as deluded as that stealth ragghed in the White House. If Muslims don't like the scrutiny then they can LEAVE – afterall, they ARE taking over many of the European countries that have made the mistake of allowing Sharia and Islam into their governments and societies.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  14. Kindness

    Kindness
    For you.
    A thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    June 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    June 7, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Reality

      ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.
      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      June 7, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  15. USA citizen

    as soon as these Piece of Sheet... muzzies openly denounce the islam extremists AND openly proclaim alliegence to these United States of America .. .THEN and ONLY THEN should they be allowed the same rights and privliges as citizens of these United States of America.... otherwise they can back to the desert and their camels.....until such time ...Joke 'em if they can't take a Fook...

    June 7, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Pete

      I'm with you USA ! You have my support 100% !

      June 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • granny25

      I Agree!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  16. psap1

    The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable search and seizure.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • mikrik13

      Of American citizens.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • J

      I didn't read in the article where anything was being seized or properties being searched...just watched. Big difference.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  17. Rob

    After Iraq as a soldier and a trip to the Middle East for a second time, I can understand why we should leave the Middle East and never go back. Not because of failed policy, or we're going to lose. We should leave them due to the fact that they are like animals. I remember going through the Marina mall in Kuwait City ( a very established and wealthy disctrict) and watching a man beat his wife like it was his job because she didn't, and get this, wan't frozen yogurt. Oh yeah, every man was cheering him on like they were watching a 40 yard drive for a touchdown. Another thing, all the men were from Yemen, Juwait, Saudi, Iraq, so on and so forth, so they were ALL muslim. They tried to kill me because of their faith when I was in Iraq. FAITH. I can't stand the idea of these people. Grow up and become atheist. At least the christians don't wipe themselves with a bare left hand. I gave muslims a chance, I really did. Tried to identify with them, become friends, but when you see a woman join their ranks..... it's like getting spit in the face. So pray to allah if you will, and try not to kill us over in the civilzed world. At least when we kill people.... it's for money and control. Not for a false god.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Wake up

      On youtube gL-OI1ZnkA4 ...

      June 7, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Lance

      Well said my friend. Their all animals!

      June 7, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • alex

      Try to explain that to a liberal

      June 7, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @ Alex and Rob; Rob, thank you for the service you performed for this country, but I disagree with the inclusion of ALL muslims for the ones you've seen. My 'liberal' reasoning is simple; you don't know every Muslim. Now if you do know all of them (and I mean personally, to draw a complete conclusion of an entire people) then you are God. Because that's a lot of people. Since I conclude you do not know ALL of them personally to call them animals, it means your words have only a piece of truth from your observation, but not the entire truth. How easily humans discriminate from one group to the next, never considering that the same discrimination can happen to them. I just know what you say could be countered with one example that doesn't fit your comment. And if that's the case, your statement falls apart.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  18. Reality

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    June 7, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Wake up

      If they remove all the evil passages, there will not be any thing in between cover to cover...

      June 7, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  19. Mike Potete

    Attention muslims: give us a reason to trust you. Do you fly american flags on memorial day?

    June 7, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • AreyouKiddingme?

      Do I fly a flag on Memorial Day? Is that a real question? Not only do I fly a flag, but attend the parade where my entire extended family (primarily full time police officers and firefighters AS WELL AS volunteer firefighters who serve our community) march. My husband, children and I spent many weekends volunteering in the community as well to teach our children to give back. Interestingly, several of these are INTERFAITH efforts organized through our community (dare I say) mosque (gasp!). So, yes, there are plenty of Muslims out there who not only give back to their community, but to the country as a whole so please take a moment to crawl out from under that rock and open your eyes.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • boocat

      I don't and I'm not Muslim....GET REAL!

      June 7, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  20. Kemikal

    All terrorists are not Muslims, but it sure looks that way given the abundance of evidence that's been gathered and seen. If you have nothing to hide it shouldn't matter whether a place you frequent has been under surveillance; hmmm. It's a known FACT that terrorist whom target the United States are MOSTLY....MOSTLY of the Muslim faith and of Middle Eastern descent. Maybe you don't feel the surveillance program is right, but it is definitely warranted due to the situation.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Pete

      We are ALL under surveillance practically every moment of every day. These Muslims need to get over it ! If they don't like it, go back to where you came from !

      June 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.